Saturday, August 30, 2008

"If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians."

“(I’m not) a big fan of resumes. Instead I focus on brains, passion, and integrity.”

Describing a valued CEO of one of his companies: “She’s smart, she loves the business, and she loves her associates. That beats having an MBA degree any time.”

Warren Buffett, the world’s richest man, born on this date in 1930.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I first noticed Barack Obama when David Brooks wrote about him in the New York Times in October, 2006. I posted Gary Hart's New York Times review of his book The Audacity of Hope, then bought the First Edition and read it myself. It was part of what led me to change my party affiliation and vote in the Colorado caucus as a Democrat, going to the county convention and becoming a Hillary Clinton delegate.

Being a Clinton delegate made Mary happy, since she was a strong supporter. And I could tell my GOP friends that I was part of Rush Limbaugh's operation chaos.

But now that he is the nominee, I'm not at all sure what to do. Going to several DNC events this week and watching what I thought was his very impressive acceptance speech last night has created uncertainty in me of what I'm being called to do.

I'm going to watch the GOP convention and then decide. One thing is for certain: I'm a stronger believer than ever in the power of the Colorado caucus to amplify the voice of the common person. I'll be going door to door in my neighborhood for one party or the other starting September 7.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Archbishop Charles Chaput's new book about faith and politics has a new website:
The Rocky Mountain Roundup yesterday on global poverty was interesting but depressing, especially the morning session.

The Denver 2008 Convention Executive Committee conducted this series of ten issue-oriented, "nonpartisan" roundtables were interesting, but in fell short of what they might have been with better leadership.

Participants in the Roundtables were drawn from the thousands of dignitaries in Denver during the convention week, from individuals across the country and the world by invitation, and from citizens in the local Denver-area community.

Democrats for Life held a very well attended town hall meeting yesterday. It wasn't reported this morning in the local Denver papers, but maybe that's not surprising given that it's not on the groups own website this morning. I was disappointed Denver's Archbishop Charles Chaput was not invited to be a panel member, since his new book Render Unto Ceasar has just come out.

Do you suppose any of the participants will join us this Sunday (Aug 31) for Denver Speakers Corner? I hope you will. The Rocky Mountain Roundup will be my topic when it's my turn on the soapbox. For more info and optional RSVP, see

I'll be at Socrates Cafe tonight. Do you enjoy good discussion? Then join us! A few of us started the first meeting in Denver the Friday after 9/11, and it's still going. It meets each Friday, 6 p.m. at Panera Bread, 13th and Grant.

When the Friday group resisted having any kind of agenda or format (I say their rules are harder to figure out because they pretend they have no rules)some of us in that original meeting started one on Thursday nights.

To find out more and to RSVP, see

If you have any questions, see me at the meeting tonight or contact me via email or telephone any time.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Here's a video of last Sunday's Denver Speakers Corner:

Hope you'll join us next Sunday, and that you'll bring a friend or two. Please RSVP at While you are there, forward a few invitations to friends or post information about the meeting on your favorite bulletin board, makes that easy to do, just click "Promote!"

After our great write up in the Rocky Mountain News we expect that there may be some media coverage of our meeting this Sunday as a follow up to the DNC. A reporter from the Guardian newspaper in London stopped by last Sunday and said he'd be back.

Finally, I'm organizing a new Franklin Circle for 50+ men and women who are serious about being successful in "retirement". We'll start with a discussion of Art Linkletter's book, "How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life." Email me if you'd like an invitation to our first meeting.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Denver, CO-- Parking all day for the Democratic National Convention is only $5 in the Denver Center for the Perfoming Arts, a discount from the normal $8.

I parked there yesterday to attended the Education and Retirement Security Roundtables, and I've got tickets for Wednesday's sessions on International Relations. Denver's Mayor John Hickenlooper stopped by both sessions yesterday to modestly remind everyone that the Roundtables were his idea: "We wanted this to be a meaningful convention."

There was no real diversity of thought at either session. It wasn't really so much a discussion as it was a mass interview, live sound-bites in what was called a crescendo format.

It was announced that since the convention was green there was no written agenda. Sound through out each session and annoying picture and names of each speaker rotated on large screen TVs.

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, NBC News journalist Tom Brokaw, former U.S. Senator and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, actor and director Ben Affleck and Google Foundation Executive Director Larry Brilliant are scheduled to participate.

Turnout at both sessions I attended was light, which surprised Mayor Hickenlooper, “We thought we were sold out,” he said at the afternoon Retirement Security session, “traffic must be really bad.”

The gist of the education session: what’s needed now is better testing (“it’s not wrong to teach to the test if you have the right test” said Colorado’s former governor Roy Romer, who has since been Superintendent of Schools in California, now heading Bill Gates “Stronger Schools”), better teachers using 21st century classrooms who are better compensated, with better principals and administrators. Someone from the Piton Foundation asked one of the few questions from the audience that was allowed: “These are the same things we’ve heard for the last 25 years, what’s really changed?”

If I could have asked a question it would have been, “Are we too focused on schools? Instead of stronger schools, don’t we need life-long, self-directed learners? How do we become a learning society, instead of a hedonistic society that rarely reads a book?”

The Retirement Security session message: “Save Social Security, reform pension plans to go back to defined benefit payments.” I asked, “Is the problem that we need to retire the concept of retirement? It’s a recent development, becoming popular in World War II when retirement plans were used as a way to get around wage freezes. From Ben Franklin to Art Linkletter, retirement has just not been the American way.” My question got a surprisingly positive respnse from the panel. “I never want to retire.” “Retirement kills.”

Denver Speakers Corner went very, very well Sunday. I'll post the video as soon as kinks with Google Video are resolved. A reporter for the Guardian Newspaper in London stopped by to tell us about Hyde Park: "there is one member of the House of Lords who attends regularly and speaks there, you really never know who you'll see."

Denver City Auditor Dennis Gallagher has led the last two sessions, promises to attend regularly in the future and bring some of his Regis students. It's really a lot of fun. Right now, while it's on your mind RSVP for next Sunday if you'd like to be on the steering committee, or just show up next Sunday and help us get this off to a good start, OK? More info and RSVP at

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Denver, CO-- I'm back from Olympia and getting ready for a very busy week with the Democratic National Convention here this week. I'll be attending several roundtable and will give you a complete report here each night, so be sure to check back.

Big event is the Denver Speakers Corner we are trying to establish as a Denver institution where the voice of the grassroots can be heard each week. I just emailed out this invitation to a few people who I hope will join us tomorrow:

Can you join us tomorrow (Sunday, Aug 23) or next Sunday?

Tell us your stories about Denver politics, current political issues, or anything else that is on your mind at the new Denver Speakers Corner. We meet each Sunday, 4 p.m., Civic Center, North Pavilion on Colfax, just across the street from the Denver Newspaper Agency. More info and optional RSVP at

There was a great story about us last Monday in the Rocky Mountain News:

Hope you can join us! We'll be shooting a video of each session and posting it on You Tube.

Also, we are hoping some of the visiting politicos will be joining us Thursday for Socrates Cafe. How about you, can you be with us? More info and RSVP at

How may I help you?


John S. Wren, MBA+
This life is short, let's get started!

I'd better get going, I'm attending a couple of events today and passing out a copy of the Rocky Mountain News article about Denver Speakers Corner. Hope you can join us tomorrow!

If you can't make it, check it out on You Tube and think about being with us next Sunday! And please forward this along to any of your friends here in Denver who you think might be interested. They will thank you, and so will I if you'll let me know what you've done.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Olympia, WA—Had breakfast yesterday with Terry Trafton, who started, grew and sold a very successful business here in Olympia. He was a wrestler (like I was) while studying chemistry at North Carolina University, where he graduated 12th in his class in 1970.

When he started his business he read everything he could about startup and small business and then boiled in all down into five rules that he tells me he's consistently followed:

Terry’s Rules:

1. Spend less than you make.
2. Save the difference.
3. Outlast the bastard.
4. Live in the solution not the problem.
5. Stay away from nasty people.

Terry said it’s ok to share his rules, but he cautions: “You need to come up with your own rules. Every business is different. My model might not work for you.”

“He who knows most knows best how little he knows.” Thomas Jefferson

We held a special session of the IDEA Café here in Olympia Friday. The Executive Director of the local chamber of commerce and the head of the local Small Business Development Center attended and they both seemed to really like it. I’m going to talk with them more today about their ideas about how to get a Franklin Circle going here in Olympia.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Olympia, WA-- I'm here visiting my daughter, stay extended until Saturday at least, so I've decided to hold an IDEA Cafe in the Olympia Public Library Friday, 2 p.m. I've put up a few fliers on bulletin boards and taken a release by the local newspaper The Olympian. If you know anyone here who might like to attend, forward this page along to them, OK?

Link to IDEA Cafe to the left on this page with more info and optional RSVP. Group will still meet in Denver this Friday, too, at least that's the plan at this point.

Olympia is beautiful, if we get a Franklin Circle going out of the Friday meeting, I'd love to be able to come here once a month. We'll see...

Friday, August 01, 2008

"Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian." Herman Melville who was born on this date(1819 – 1891). Melville was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist and poet. His first two books gained much attention, though they were not bestsellers, and his popularity declined precipitously after only a few years. By the time of his death he had been almost completely forgotten, but his longest novel, Moby-Dick — largely considered a failure during his lifetime, and most responsible for Melville's fall from favor with the reading public — was recognized in the 20th century as one of the chief literary masterpieces of both American and world literature.

Melville is another example of why we should never give up if we are staying close to our higher power. The results of our efforts may not be fully known in this life time.

Do you know someone who needs extra income right now? Forward this along to him or her:

The Denver Elections Division has approx. 12 paid temporary positions for Democrats (these are positions that require equal numbers from each party). These positions are for the Resolution Board which is part of the process of counting paper ballots. These are 8-hour per day shifts Monday-Friday starting Monday, Aug 4th. The pay is standard temporary worker pay for the office (currently between $11 and $12/hour).

If anyone is interested in these positions they should contact Alton Dillard at the Denver Elections Division 720-913-8683. Tell him you are calling for the Resolution Board positions.